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  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

January 14, 2002
 

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 14, 2002, in City Council Chambers.  A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Bohlen, Watkins, Weldon, Atkinson and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.  Commissioner Atkinson led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 7, 2002 Council meeting as distributed.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.   

APPOINTMENTS

Open Bids for Furnishing, Delivering and Installing One New Two-Post Maintenance Lift at the Department of Public Works-Bids were received from:

  • Chesapeake Challenger Lifts (Port Republic, MD)--$3,150.00
  • Chesapeake Service Company (Manteo, NC)--$2,750.00

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to submit the bids to the Department of Public Works for their review and recommendation.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Jeff Middlebrooks to Discuss "Maryland Loans to Individuals With Disabilities"-Jeff Middlebrooks, President of Neighborhood Housing Renewal Company, introduced a program started by the State of Maryland which provides low interest mortgages for those who are disabled.  The mortgage terms are very generous, the interest rate is 3 percent and the terms can be as long as 40 years.  There is $2.5 million available State wide for this program.  His corporation has a disabled client who has signed a contract with them for a house on Camper Street pending getting this kind of a mortgage.  Local governments can administer the program or they can subcontract it to a non-profit.  If the City chooses to adopt the program, his company would like to be first in line for their client.  They are willing to take on all the burdens that would go onto the City (underwriting, processing the paperwork, etc.).  Rob Collison will review the paperwork and this will be discussed further at the meeting on January 28, 2002.   

Tony Thomas to Discuss Text Amendment for Off-Premise Sale of Wine-Mr. Thomas appeared before the Zoning Board last Tuesday and they rejected all three offers that he made to change the footage from 300 to 500 feet.  Door-to-door, they are real close to 500 feet to the church behind them.  He doesn't feel they understood what he wants to do.  He does not want to be a carryout liquor store. He wants to carry boutique wines from France and New Zealand.   These wines are not found in liquor stores.  They are sold after wine tastings or wine dinners.   His license now is on-premise.  He wants to be able to sell the wines by the bottle for those occasions.  It won't be for sale every day and they aren't open on Sundays.  He is asking the Council to overturn the decision by the Zoning Board or to make some kind of exception.  He believes the County law is 300 feet and it is just the City law for 500 feet.  They could stipulate no Sunday sales, no liquor sales, just wines and only for sale at wine tastings and wine dinners.  The average boutique wines sell from $40 a bottle and up.  This is not the kind of wine you put in a paper bag and walk up and down Race Street. 

Rob Collison reported that the Planning Commission is an advisory board.  He will schedule a public hearing on the matter because this would require a text amendment.  The Planning Commission's recommendation will be one aspect for Council to consider when the make their decision.  Rob said what Mr. Thomas is referring to is that there are three ways to approach this issue.  If Council desires that a change is warranted, they can make the off-premises license as a permitted use in the commercial district.  Alternatively, they can keep it as a special exception and either revise the setback from 500 feet to 300 feet, or they can eliminate it completely.  By keeping it as a special exception, there would always be a public hearing so if any local church had a concern, they would have an opportunity to voice their concern at the public hearing. 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Council to Render Decision on Request for Rezoning of Woods Road Parcel from R1 to R4 (Tax Map 309/Parcel 6033)-Rob Collison reported that the public hearing on this issue was held last week.  The applicants, Delaware Valley Development Company, made a presentation for the property on Wood Road which consists of approximately 29.23 acres.  They are planning to initially develop 10 acres.  Mayor Rippons reviewed the six issues the Commissioners should consider when making their decision.  Commissioner Weldon commented that the Comprehensive Plan directs multi-family uses near the State Highway areas.  The presence of Woods Crossing and Amberly Acres indicate that the neighborhood has changed.  He thinks it a change they can support.  Commissioner Watkins agrees.  Commissioner Bohlen said that the new development would be compatible with the other existing developments as Commissioner Weldon mentioned.   Commissioner Bohlen said in consideration of the testimony, exhibits and the recommendation of the Planning Commission, he made a motion that the rezoning request be granted.  Commissioner Watkins seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Council to Discuss Not Charging DNR for the Two Slips They Use at the Municipal Yacht Basin-Ed Kinnamon stated that DNR questioned the increase they received for their slips in the Municipal Yacht Basin.  Due to the fact that DNR does supply two boats in our basin which are welcome by all slip holders and in light of fact of what they have provided for improvements, Ed Kinnamon feels that the City should give them their two slips gratis.  The cost to the City would be approximately $2700.  DNR did not ask for this.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to provide the slips gratis to DNR. The presence of these boats does make a difference in terms of security at the Marina.   Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request from Business Owner to Consider Possible Duplication in Assessment Notice and Outstanding Tax Notice-Ed Kinnamon received notice from Matthews Amusements upon their receipt of Cambridge's notice that they owed taxes.  They provided information showing that they feel they received duplicate billing when they transferred from a private entity to a corporation.  Because this is over 3 years old, the Department of Assessment and Taxation will not assist Matthews Amusements or the City in resolving the matter for clarity.  Based on the City's records and the information provided by Matthews Amusements' accountant, it does appear that there was a duplicate billing on April 17, 1996 when the transfer of all assets from one entity to the corporate was done.   Ed Kinnamon feels this is a duplicate billing and requested Council allow him to provide a credit to Matthews Amusements' account and to release any recordings of liens against them.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion that Council honor the request of the Treasurer.  Commissioner Travers seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Request by Department of Planning & Zoning for Authorization to Proceed with Demolition of Houses at 703 Academy Street and 323 Cemetery Avenue and Accept Proposal from Kelly's Excavating-Jim Michael reported that the properties were both involved in fires.  The Department of Planning & Zoning could not get voluntary demolition.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the request from the Department of Planning & Zoning.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  As always, liens will be put on the properties.  The motion was passed unanimously. 

First Reading of Ordinance on Inoperable Vehicles-Rob Collison reported that this is the first reading of a new Section 4.39a entitled "Inoperable Vehicles" of the City Code Chapter 4 "Buildings and Housing".  The ordinance would prohibit any person to keep, except for in a fully enclosed building, structure or screened completely by fencing, any inoperable motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer.  An inoperable vehicle is defined as any motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer which is not in operating condition or does not display valid license plates or a license plate and decal which has been expired for more than 60 days.   Abandoned vehicles are covered under another section.  Commercial garages possessing a valid business license from the City and businesses that are regularly engaged as automobile dealers, salvage dealers, or auto repair facilities are exempt from the ordinance.  The ordinance provides the specific type of notice that would have to be given to the property owner and/or owner of the vehicle.  If the vehicle is not removed within the time given in the notice, a civil citation can be issued which is up to $100 per day for each vehicle in violation.  After a period of time if the vehicle is not removed, the City may remove it or hire an agent or subcontractor to remove it.  The City could then dispose of the vehicle either through public auction or scrap metal.   A provision was added for an extension for good cause shown.  The owner may make application to the Housing Board of Review for an extension of the period to leave the vehicle on the property.  This may be granted only for good cause shown and would not exceed a period of one year.

Commissioner Bohlen asked about the School of Technology and their auto repair program.  They have vehicles at the school behind a chain-link fence.  Rob Collison said language could be added to exempt educational facilities.  The final reading with the amendment will be on January 28, 2002.

Discuss Damage to Traffic Light at the Intersection of High & Poplar Streets (DPW)-George Hyde reported the traffic light was knocked down by a truck in August.  At the time, the Traffic & Safety Committee decided to determine if the light was really needed.  There are two other lights at the intersection.  To date, there have not been any problems that they are aware of.  Captain Malik is not aware of any accidents at that location but will research it.  Commissioner Watkins said he doesn't see a problem with it but the Traffic & Safety Committee has not discussed it.  Rob Collison said as a pedestrian using that area, it is an awkward area to cross the street.  Crosswalks would be a big help.  Mayor Rippons would like to refer this to Traffic & Safety for their consideration.  George Hyde said this is one of the intersections that will get crosswalks in the spring.

Approve Budget Amendment for CEMS-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the budget amendment.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Approve Purchase Order 2166 For CPD-Commissioner Watkins made a motion to approve Purchase Order 2166.  Commissioner Bohlen seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Council to Discuss Canceling Council Meeting on Monday, January 21st in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday-Commissioner Watkins said he thinks it would be an honor to cancel the meeting in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.  He invited the Council to come to a breakfast at Bethel Church that day.  He made a motion to cancel the meeting.  Commissioner Travers seconded the motion.  The motion was passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Mayor Rippons asked the Sailwinds Board to come forward to speak.  Raymond Simmons, on behalf of the Sailwinds Management Board, introduced the members of the Management Board who were present:  Ted Creighton, Bob Peters, J. B. Tieder, and Carlton Stanley.  Kim Seward, the Executive Director, was also present.  Mr. Simmons said the reasons they are here are: 

They want to be sure that the City, in accordance with their operating agreement, had received a copy of the profit/loss for the last quarter of 2001 and had an opportunity to look over it and to stand ready to provide any general responses.  You can see that for the period June through December 2001 they have a gross income of $92,500 and have expended $81,951.  They have a net ordinary income of $10,500 for the period.  That becomes important because of what has happened, what they have been able to accomplish, and of course, of what they are mostly concerned about tonight.   Everyone has seen the headline article in the Daily Times about a shipyard that had expressed an interest in obtaining the Sailwinds property.  Mr. Simmons read a statement generally accepted by the Management Board:  "Gentlemen, First we want to state that it has been an honor to serve on the Management Board of Governors Hall.  We wish to thank everyone involved for letting us have the opportunity and with this letter we want to touch on a few of the key issues associated with Governors Hall and the property at Sailwinds.  In the past 6 months Governors Hall has began to turn around.  In the year ending 2001 Governors Hall has shown a profit of more than $10,000 as you can see from your financial statement.  We have made capital improvements in excess of $225,000 and we have increased the attendance at Sailwinds Park to more than 25,000 people that have visited since June 1 of this year.  This has increased over 20 percent since the last year.  Community support of your facility is at an all time high.  With more than 25,000 people in attendance since June 1st, we do feel that this shows just how important this park is to Cambridge.  We have also had in-kind donations made to Governors Hall in a large amount.  We've used the majority of these proceeds to fund the capital improvements, which you all have seen and I'm sure you are proud of as we are.  They include new state-of-the-art kitchen, which was put into use the first time when we fed the 600 senior citizens, new dressing rooms, mechanical and electrical improvements.  We have kept in mind that Governors Hall at Sailwinds Park is for the people of Cambridge and Dorchester County.  With this in mind, we would like to give back to the community as much as we can afford.  Our first benefit program was for the senior citizens of the County with 600 seniors being fed Christmas dinner, given a gift, and entertained by top-notch entertainment.  High School honor students were brought in to serve the seniors to help them, not only to help us, but also help them with their community service requirement.  In April we have plans to do a benefit for the Volunteer Firemen's Association.  This venue and set-up will be similar to the senior dinner that we did in December.  We, of your Management Board, want to keep Governors Hall affordable to all who want to use it and with this in mind we have set rates for the hall, and quick frankly we have to run this as a business and we all understand and recognize that probably the major problem for Governors Hall in the past is it may not have always been operated in that fashion.  We want to keep it there.  This brings us up to this point tonight.  The question is what is the future of Sailwinds Park and particularly Governors Hall.   As you are aware there is a proposal from Chesapeake Shipbuilders to utilize the property and this has greatly affected our donors' willingness to support Sailwinds.  You all cannot imagine just how much the article from the Salisbury paper has impacted and affected people who say "Why should we be giving to Sailwinds to fix the building when the shipbuilders are going to be here "God knows when" to take over the property.".  No one is really certain of our destiny in this particular situation.  It's a terrible thing if we were to loose this property and it has been our understanding that if this property were to be developed, that the developer would build the City of Cambridge a similar hall at another location.  If this can be clarified in some sort of a positive and written form, we believe that our donors would again be willing to step forward and make the donations that are absolutely critical and vital to improving Governors Hall and you all would certainly understand that while the Hall can operate in the winter months, come spring and summer around here without air conditioning basically you have a big building that cannot be used inside.  Without a commitment from the City, the Governors Hall will continue to be viable to the lease ends and all efforts to establish Sailwinds will have been wasted.  No organization, individual, or groups, are willing to support and commit to Sailwinds Park when the future is in jeopardy and we are asking you to help us keep Sailwinds a self-supporting community center for all the people of the City and the County." 

The three things that basically we are telling you are these:

Management Board needs some written assurance to the best that we can get it that it will be involved in the development of any new facility and without any further statement, believe me the fact that the people that are on this Management Board today has made a great deal of difference in the ability of us to gather funds because they recognize the people that are on your Board as basically business people who understand that this must be run as a business and cannot, no longer we don't have the luxury of running it as a facility where monies can go out the door and no monies come in and there is no accountability.  We need to know if we will receive a facility similar to Sailwinds if this lease is terminated prior to the Year 2009.  We need to know that and quite frankly, the current Management Board would like a statement from the Council that we could be the Management Board as long as the City operates this thing.  We are making progress, we feel we have established a rapport with donors who are willing to give large sums of money but quite frankly as of last week when the article hit the paper, some of our donors quite frankly are concerned that they are don't want to put any more money into a project that might not be there in a long period of time.  These are the concerns that we have and we do ask that the Council listen to those concerns and perhaps give us what we are looking for.  In addition I might ask that Mr. Collison might take a look at Section 10-305 of the State Finance Procurement Article which concerns the ability of excess property which Sailwinds property is and as I understand it, the State would have the ability to dispose of to any County or Municipal corporation in the State subject to any conditions that the Board would impress.  In other words, it's not my understanding they would have to sell this property and I would encourage the City of Cambridge to look toward the possibility of getting rid of the lease all together and obtaining the property for the City of Cambridge.  I don't know whether that's reasonable in light of the current economic situation but certainly the Code seems to provide for it and if in fact the State has deemed the property to be excess property, if we could get it and get rid of the lease, then we certainly would have a lot more control over this property. 

These are the concerns that we do have and quite frankly we hate to be here tonight but were it not for the fact that we were called by donors and within the last 24 hours we've had conversations with one individual who controls in essence more than $20,000 in donations and he has great deals of concerns about whether he wants to get involved in making improvements to a building that may or may not be there.  So, what we are looking for is hopefully some written assurances from this Council concerning the issues that I have raised.   (He then asked if any other members of the Board had any other concerns that he did not raise.)   Those are the concerns we have.  We will certainly respond to any questions that you have. 

Mayor Rippons asked if there were any questions from Council.  Commissioner Atkinson asked if the State could break the lease.  Rob Collison answered no.  The termination provision is only if there's a default or breech of the terms which is basically the dollar a year rent which is minimal but the maintenance issues and they have to give the City notice of the default or the breech and then there is a 60-day cure period.  He said the technical answer is yes, they can terminate it, but it's going to be very difficult because the City can take corrective action on whatever they identify.  Otherwise, the can only be terminated with the consent of the tenant, the City in this case.  Commissioner Atkinson asked Mr. Simmons if this was his understanding.  Mr. Simmons answered yes, but the fact that who can break and who can do what is really inconsequential.  If in fact, the State found an appropriate tenant that everyone felt belonged in there, he feels adequate pressure could be placed on any government agency that would cause this lease to go away.  It's politics, it not necessarily legalities.  Strictly legalities, you've got Council to explain that to you but he thinks the politics is much more realistic.  If something came in there that really set the world on fire, he thinks there would be enough pressure brought from a lot of different ways.  He hears all the programs that come to the City of Cambridge and what could and could not come to the City of Cambridge.   He thinks it's more likely it would be broken politically than legally. 

Commissioner Weldon said as Council knows, he had some questions early on but he has been very supportive of the efforts and he is very impressed with the results.  The concern that he shares with the Board and the donors is that they had to read about it in the paper.  He has made some phone calls and talking to some people at the State level, they feel it was this fellow who has the boat yard and the quote he heard was "He had a few drinks with the reporter.".  Because this basically is a real estate issue, it's something that we're not supposed to be negotiating in the newspaper.  The fact of the matter is there have been a number of meeting taking place that the Council has not been made aware of and that concerns him as it has concerned the Board.  In general, he thinks ultimately we are going to find a time when a development proposal comes in to step forward on that property but he doesn't think this particular one is it.  His conception of this proposal is that the City of Salisbury sees an opportunity to free up some prime waterfront in their community at the expense of prime waterfront in our community and he's not going to sit back and let that happen.  Beyond that, he appreciates the Board's efforts.

Commissioner Bohlen said on behalf of himself he has to echo the sentiments of Commissioner Weldon.  He feels they have all done a very good job and the proof is in the pudding and the financial statement shows that.  The quality and caliber of the activities being put on show that too.  The fact that the large number of donations the Board was able to get show that they can succeed where other people said it couldn't be done.  The Board has proven that it can be done.  His one concern in the three things that the Board asked them to consider is that if by sharing that responsibility in case something does come along that sets the world on fire, that the Board would basically want to be nearly an equal with the Council as far as determining what the final outcome of the process would be.  Ray Simmons said he doesn't know if it necessarily has to be equal, but he certainly thinks they are only expressing not really what they have wanted but people who have donated large sums of money have told them because flat out honestly, there have been people who have said if it were not the people who are involved in it now, they wouldn't give anything.  They are only passing traffic, they are just the messengers.  They are expressing the sentiments of people who have given them substantial sums of money.  Whether it becomes equal, what the relationship is, he doesn't have a clue but he does know that they are not necessarily speaking from their own ....   J. B. Tieder added that they are speaking from people who are giving them the money to make the improvements.   Commissioner Bohlen said that has definite validity without a doubt both as far as the Board is concerned with the operations of the facility and he thinks the power that it has for the Council.     Mr. Simmons would strongly urge the Council to look into the abilities of gathering this surplus property back from the State.  There are several ways to do that and he agrees with Commissioner Weldon that the Salisbury shipyard belongs there beside the hospital and doing all the things to the water and so forth that could possible be done.  It's a nice thing and as a practical matter, anytime you have a business that is willing to come in and promise to bring in 100 or 150 jobs, this is the pressure he is talking about.  Commissioner Weldon said the problem he has with this statement is that you have a business that is moving from one half hour up the road.  How many of those are really going to be new jobs for our community?  They are going to be people who already occupy those jobs and don't live here.  The whole issue is something that is subject to discussion.  When Ray Simmons said the only way the lease can be broken is politically, Commissioner Weldon said this is essence this is absolutely correct because no development proposal is going to be approved for that parcel without the approval of City Council and that is a critical piece that people need to be reminded of.  The way the lease is structured is that if a development proposal comes forward, it must be approved by the Cambridge City Council.  Council has the opportunity to review these things.  One of the things that has surfaced as a result of this is that he feels that they are not receiving the information in a timely fashion.  If they are to be making that decision, they need to be making an informed decision.  The Mayor represents them in the meetings and he would ask the Mayor to be vigorous in reporting the information back to them.  

Commissioner Watkins certainly thinks what has been done is outstanding.  It certainly has helped the community and in that respect.  People from all over the community talk about how nice it has been run and the services that have been given and he thinks we need to do all we can to make sure that our lease agreement is secure and will continue in a fashion that it should.  He doesn't know all the ramifications and all the contacts that need to be made but certainly he thinks we need to be vigilant to make sure that it doesn't leave our hands. 

Mayor Rippons said that next Wednesday (January 23rd) 7:00 pm at Sailwinds, there will be meeting where all members of the community and all stakeholders will be invited.  Some of the paramount players from the State will also be there and they will acknowledge their consideration and he thinks it will go a long way towards ascertaining exactly what the community needs.  He invites the entire community and asks the press to relay that on.  The community will be brought up to date about the proposals that are on the table-not just the one.  There is another one and at that time it would be an evening for the entire community to give their response as it relates to what their vision is-not only today but where they would like to have Sailwinds in the future. 

Ted Creighton from the Management Board said something that Ray Simmons was telling them about but it is something that they need fast and they need it bad.  It is basically a letter from Council stating about what has been discussed tonight.  By the end of this month we have a little over $20,000 in donations coming in to Sailwinds upon a complete stop right now.  The more this thing is put off, the longer it will be getting people back on our side again.  He and Raymond met with the lead of the donors today and until he is satisfied with a letter in writing from the City Council they can forget about money.  This is the man who controls pretty much all of these donations.  As most everyone knows, the building cannot operate without air conditioning.  There is no money around to put air conditioning in except for the grant money and they pretty much have that settled with the vendors on getting the amount of money for the air conditioning.  The longer it is put off, the colder it is going to get.  They would appreciate it if there is any way possible for Council to do something as fast as they can do it. 

Commissioner Atkinson sees no reason why Mr. Simmons and Mr. Collison couldn't get together and draw up a letter for the Council's signature that would satisfy the Management Board's request and bring it back to them for the next meeting.  Ted Creighton said basically what they want is in writing that the money that they are going to donate is not going to be wasted.  The floor has to be done; air conditioning, new chairs...and things like that.  The longer it is put off, the longer it is going to be waited and the colder it gets. 

Commissioner Atkinson put it in the form of a motion.  Commissioner Weldon seconded it with the idea being basically a statement of the facts that are in the lease that states that the hall and that property remains under that 10-year lease until City Council says otherwise.  That's the best security he feels Council can offer the Management Board.  He thinks all of them support the project; it's just an issue that the letter of the lease states that it is in place until Council says it isn't.

Rob Collison said he thinks what they are asking for is that Council goes one step further and in the letter state that until July 2009, Council would not agree to terminate the lease for any other use than what it is used for now without this Management Board's consent as well.  Ray Simmons said everyone knows it's a valuable piece of property.  If the property does come up for development, we need it in the negotiations that we have another hall built on a separate location and that would assure that Sailwinds moves on.  Commissioner Weldon said that is already in there.  Ted Creighton said that's what they are looking for.  They are not going to close their eyes and ears to a developer coming in that can show us the right thing to happen to the Sailwinds property.  If it does happen, the Management Board wants their investors to feel very safe that the money they are putting back into the project is going to be spent the right way.  What they need is a letter telling the length of the lease and if anything would happen a new building would be built to the Council's and the Board's specs and we would have the keys to open the doors before possession of that building is taken.  Commissioner Weldon said as he understands it, the relocation element is part of the request for interest that went out and that it will continue on through the request for proposals.  Any development that took place there would have to take that into account that a new location would have to be sought and constructed.  Commissioner Weldon said his second stands for Mr. Collison and Mr. Simmons to work that out.  The motion to have Mr. Collison and Mr. Simmons produce a letter was passed unanimously.

Rob Collison said the City received a proposal from the Salt and Light Company of Mt. Holly, New Jersey in which the City would purchase the property at 415 Linden Avenue from HUD for $1, and the City would then sell it to Salt and Light Company who would rehab the property.  Commissioner Weldon made a motion to approve the purchase and resale of the property at 415 Linden Avenue.  Commissioner Watkins seconded it.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Rob Collison reported that the City had a request to expand the Sanitary District No. 4 to include the property of Logan Fitzhugh.  This property is not at all within the district.  There is excess capacity in the District.  Commissioner Atkinson made a motion to permit the Sanitary District No. 4 to expand to include the property of Logan Fitzhugh under the following stipulations:  The owners would agree to annex the property into the City when that becomes feasible and upon annexation they would disconnect from the Sanitary District and connect to the City system.  Commissioner Weldon seconded the motion.  Commissioner Travers announced that he will have to abstain on this vote.  The motion passed 4:0 with Commissioner Travers abstaining. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he was very glad to have the Sailwinds Board here tonight and talk to them and have their statement and have their financial statement.  He thinks they have done a good job in the time they have done their work.  He referenced the headline of the Daily Times on Thursday and said he was quite chagrinned because as he read the article its talked about a meeting scheduled for that day and he knew nothing about it.  Nobody had the decency to contact him to let him know that there was a meeting which he should have attended and would have attended.  There have been meetings here in these chambers with several of the different parties involved which he attended.  He is starting to wonder what else he doesn't know and that the people of this City, in the first ward most particularly, elected him to do a job and that job requires him to know things.  It upset him greatly.  He also understood that there were other meetings that were held at an earlier time, most specifically, he believes on December 10th, which again he was not aware of and he cannot speak for the rest of the Council but he believes that to the best of his knowledge talking to other members of Council, they weren't aware of.  He is an adult, he has a full set of teeth that are in very good shape, and he can bite off and chew and digest as much as he needs to and he does not need something to puree information for him before he gets it.  Some people may think that this Council is superfluous, it is not.  It is far from not.  He found it very interesting on the news on Friday that on WBOC they had a very good piece on the proposal which again he had to talk to people from the County and private citizens to find information out about the meeting.  He found it rather interesting because their parting sentence was that Mayor C. L. Rippons needs additional information before he can make a decision.  He wants to know how the Mayor proposes to make a decision.    Mayor Rippons said it is just like he told them; it is to get input from the community.  Commissioner Bohlen asked who is going to make the decision.  Commissioner Bohlen asked who makes decisions concerning this City and most specifically in this case, Sailwinds Park.  Mayor Rippons replied he would wager to say those people in attendance.  Commissioner Bohlen said o.k. and he was not in attendance.  Commissioner Bohlen said the last time he checked it takes three votes of this table to make a decision for this City.  That's all he has to say. 

Commissioner Watkins invited Council to the NAACP breakfast on January 21 at 7:00 a.m. at Bethel AME Church.  It is a Martin Luther King birthday breakfast. 

Commissioner Atkinson would like to respond to Commissioner Bohlen's comments.  He said maybe they should have had information, but he doesn't want to see Council get into micromanaging when the Charter says that we have a CEO.  Maybe the CEO should have informed them, but since no decision has been made or can be made without Council's vote, he not as concerned about it.  He's not happy with it but he's not as concerned as Commissioner Bohlen is.  He would not have gone to the meeting because he's not in the management business.  He looks upon Council as a decision making body, a legislative body.  If you go to one of these meetings, you go for information-not to make a management decision unless all the Council makes it in accordance with the contract we have executed with the State of Maryland.  Maybe Council should have had information but he's not as concerned as Commissioner Bohlen is.  He agrees this body will make the decision. 

Commissioner Bohlen said he respects that and he just simply want his feeling known that he wants information so he can make sound decisions and to have that information he needs to attend meetings.  It's a case where we need to know the whole picture and much to his chagrin in talking to people that certain folks with the State basically felt that the Council was aware and that they chose not to be there.  He finds that unfortunate.  Commissioner Bohlen said he is one Councilperson who is involved and will continue to be involved. 

Jim Michael submitted the Community Parks and Playgrounds grant application today.  The application is for funds for Sailwinds Park, especially the area along the waterfront.  A boardwalk is planned from the boat ramp all the way around to Governor's Hall and also to extend lighting all the way across the waterfront that would be East Sailwinds and also Sailwinds.  The City requested $81,750 for this work.  Commissioner Weldon said this is definitely a step in the right direction for what we want to do on the waterfront.  The only question he has is as he understands it, one of the obstacles faced by the requests the City made earlier for improvements at Sailwinds is that the State is wondering the validity of funding projects on a property that they are marketing.  Jim Michael said it is not official but it has indicated to him by at least one staff person that this may be a concern. He said it is still a valid project and the project in any event would warrant that type of activity.  He's not aware of anything that would negate it simply because of whatever concept is proposed and we are in a concept stage.

Jim Michael referred to an ordinance that occurred in 1997 which eliminated the special parking tax downtown.  The district was originally established due to the City building parking lots in the 60's.  In the district, they paid a special parking tax and in return were not required to provide off-street parking.  When the taxing district was eliminated, the exemption was not.  Council eliminated the tax but didn't deal with the zoning end of it.  You still have the issue the business owners are not required to provide parking where every other business entity in the City is required to do so.  Mr. Michael said Council might wish to change or correct this in the future.  Ed Kinnamon said at the time this special parking tax district was eliminated he doesn't recall hearing any discussion regarding the exemption.  He feels it was an oversight by Council as far as addressing the issue.  He was personally not aware of that part of the zoning situation.  Rob Collison said very few of the businesses along Race and High Streets are going to have sufficient land to provide parking.  The City would be limited on the options.  Commissioner Bohlen asked if the special tax district was created to fund certain improvement projects like parking lots.  Jim Michael said the parking lots were built with government money.  Ed Kinnamon identified the five City parking lots.

Rob Collison said is respect to the grant proposal, he doesn't know what the cost differential would be, but when the hospital had made their presentation, from a liability and maintenance standpoint, rather than doing a wood boardwalk they looked into some type of brick or interlocking pavement.  He said the City might wish to look into this to be consistent. 

Mayor Rippons received a call from Commander Dickerson of the VFW and he was much chagrined today when the City notified him that the flag that they provide for Great Marsh had been stolen.  He asked that the Mayor notify the community that if there is a necessary for a flag, the VFW will work in tandem until it is provided.  Please do not take flags that are in place.

Portia Johnson-Ennels spoke representing Octavene Saunders who could not come to the Council meeting.  She wanted it to be put into record her opposition about the off-premise sale of wine at Mr. Thomas' business on Race Street.

Mrs. Johnson-Ennels said she has spoken to Council before in reference to her ward.  There is a house on Camellia Street that is partly boarded up and the grass is growing wild around it.  Commissioner Weldon thinks the house number is 609.  She would like for something to be done.  She lives in a nice neighborhood and she would like for her neighborhood to look nice.  If everyone else in that neighborhood can take care of their property, they would like this house to be cleaned up.  Commissioner Weldon said he was in that area the other day making notes on several other properties.  He asked the County Parks and Rec Board to patrol their area outside the ballpark to pick up the litter.  Jim Michael said the property owner that Ms. Johnson-Ennels is talking about has been addressed and he will follow up on it. 

Gage Thomas had the opportunity to be at the meeting concerning Sailwinds last Thursday.  He was notified a little more than 24 hours prior to the meeting.  He believes Addie Eckardt originally organized the meetings a year ago.  He said it is impossible to get everyone who has interest at the table at the same time.  Mr. Thomas represented the Chamber of Commerce and Sailwinds, Inc. (not the Management Board).  Tonight he is speaking as an individual-not representing either organization.  Everyone at the meeting (about 10 people) was aghast about the article and how it came about and the ramifications of what the public was thinking.  As soon as he got back to town he called Tom Flowers and a number of other people to stem what was going on.  He gives great credit to the Daily Banner for their article the following day.  He can assure the Council, and he commends the Mayor, who in that meeting made it all too clear that in no uncertain terms would that proposal, as presented, be accepted not just by him, but the entire community-not just Cambridge but the entire Dorchester County.  On December 12th the Mayor had a briefing with the major stakeholders in the community basically to give out information.  At that meeting it was made known that one of the proposals was a ship builder.  Mr. Thomas said the gentleman called him eight months ago and wanted his opinion.  He told him there was no way...the guy said it was a good plan but it's not the highest and best use for that property.  He said if the community doesn't want that, then he's not going to buck what the community wants.  Mr. Thomas feels everyone is looking out for the good of this County including the State who said in no uncertain terms would they override the wishes of our community.  This is his personal perception and observations as a private citizen and he hopes we can move forward as a community.  If that building gets knocked down, it will be at the expense of the developer.  Then it will be bigger, better, and whatever we want.  We will write the text on what we want there on that site.  Everyone keeps saying it's going to get moved off site; there is a possibility it could be on-site on one side or the other.  We have to keep our minds open moving forward because he believes there are better things ahead.

Commissioner Weldon said there is one thing he wants to clarify as part of his position on this whole thing.  He thinks the Mayor did everything he could do.  He thinks the newspaper articles followed-up.  Everything he read in the Salisbury paper even indicated that the Mayor's position is to look out for the best interest for this community.  He doesn't think anyone has a problem with that.  Council authorized the Mayor to represent them in those negotiations.  He thinks the only thing they might be looking for at this point is more of an accounting and reporting back of what the results of these meetings have been.  This might just be a miscommunication or misunderstanding between the Mayor and Commissioners as to what they are asking of him as a representative in these meeting.  If they can work this out, then he doesn't think they will have any problems.  

Commissioner Bohlen added that he would like to know when the meetings are held because he would have been at Thursday's meeting.  The Mayor and Commissioner Bohlen attended earlier meetings with all the parties involved and he would have made the time to be there.  He doesn't care if it is 4:00 am, if there is a meeting concerning a pertinent issue to this City and he has to eventually make a decision, he needs to know it.  

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 8:20 p.m.  I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, January 14, 2002, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer